Airsoft guns can be as individualized as their users, and usually, one purchases them to fit the scenario one plans upon gaming in. Usually, the two main characterizations of airsoft guns are long-range and short-range; there are very few examples of intermediate range weapons. This means that airsoft guns are divided largely into the two different categories: those meant for ranged combat (snipers) and those meant for close-quarters battle. We’ll go through each and give you some examples and some practical information regarding purchase.
In most circles, the term ‘sniper’ is defined as an individual who strikes targets of importance or opportunity from the relative safety of cover. This is not to be confused with a camper, the most loathed type of airsoft gun user. Campers, unlike snipers, serve no practical or useful purpose in the game, and without rhyme or reason sit under cover and pick off as many players as they possibly can.
Snipers use long-ranged airsoft guns. Generally, these are very highly tuned, precision weapons that are meant for accuracy and efficiency. Many of these are rifles–bolt-action firearms that are designed for one-shot, one-hit use. Rifles such as these tend to be quite pricey, but when used correctly, they make a world of difference in your scenario-based games.
The disadvantage surrounding this particular type of long-ranged combat is that it leaves each individual using such airsoft guns unprotected if someone should find their position or otherwise initiate close-quarters combat with them. A close-quarters battle is the bane of most every long-range fighter, and can certainly be their undoing, as bolt-action rifles do not lend themselves to speedy recovery or extreme stopping power.
It is highly recommended that one purchases a green gas or electric gun to go along with a long-range rifle, just in case of such a scenario. You’ll certainly avoid being taken by surprise.
CQB, on the other hand, is much less limited than long-range combat: you can use any number of different tactics, and usually you’re within easy reach of your rivals. Fighting of this sort happens at a range of ten meters to right in your face, and can be both vicious and exciting. Many capture the flag games end up in combat like this. Since you need stopping power and speed more than range in a CQB situation, you will probably want to invest either in a green gas or electric gun. Spring guns are good for inexpensive backup, but you should not rely on them exclusively.
The disadvantage of CQB is, of course, the fact that you cannot use cover or distance to help you or your team: you’re right there in the action. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to difficulties. You will definitely wish to invest in the appropriate safety gear before you begin any airsoft games. Close-quarters battling will certainly illustrate to you this fact very, very quickly.
So, as always, be safe and have fun!